Posted May 07, 2015:
I Can’t Live Without Her

by Marie Javora.

I got to know Our Lady at an early age because my mother, being a good Catholic woman, introduced me to her.

Then in school in the second grade, my teacher, Sister Josita, was a young and very saintly nun. She had a terminal disease and had asked God to be able to teach one First Communion class. We were it. She died shortly afterwards, and I think she introduced into my heart a great personal love of Our Lady.

Moreover, every May, as was the custom in those days, we had a May crowning of Our Lady. We did this in the classroom in the younger grades and then later in the church, but it was more personal in the classroom. Everyone was encouraged to bring flowers, and we sang hymns which I grew to love very much.

As a child, I had a kind of delightful, free relationship with Our Lady.

I don’t know exactly how it came about, but my mother must have read something about St. Louis de Montfort, because in l951, I remember that she and I went together to the church to Our Lady’s altar and made the official act of consecration to Jesus through Mary according to de Montfort. I was fourteen at the time.

I grew up with devotions that were very meaningful to me, but it was at Madonna House that my love for Our Lady became much more real and deeper.

When I asked to join Madonna House, Catherine Doherty took me to the statue of Our Lady of Combermere and asked her to specially bless me.

I think all of us who have come to Madonna House and especially the staff, have found that the statue of Our Lady of Combermere has always been a place you could go to.

There is something about that statue; there’s a presence there. When you are praying there, it no longer feels like a statue; Our Lady is really there.

I shared with Our Lady of Combermere my joys and my sorrows. I shed my tears there, and in her own way she wiped them away. Over the years, I think that my relationship with Our Lady continued to deepen.

I have sure had my ups and downs. There have been times when Our Lady has been very close, and times when she felt very far away.

There was a period in my life where she seemed very far away, and I remember it was hard to pray to her then. Fr. Gene Cullinane said to me, "Don’t worry, just keep going to her. Sooner or later, you will experience her presence again." And that happened.

Also, as I look back on that period, I can see that it was a time in my life where there was a lot of disorder, and I think that probably was part of why she was so distant. But, when she "came back" again, I experienced it as such a gift that she became an indispensable part of my life.

In 1993 I was assigned to open a house in Magadan, Russia, and when I went there, a whole new thing started to happen with Our Lady.

My director general, Jean Fox, encouraged me to renew my consecration to Jesus through Mary and to renew it under a vow, and I did that.

There was a period of time when I was first in Russia, when Our Lady felt so real. Every morning when I was praying, I was enveloped by her presence and strengthened by her love.

I felt like she was teaching me every day how to live and how to love in every little thing I did. She was just so very present; it was one of those times of consolation.

I started reading The Secret of Mary, Fr. Eddie Doherty’s adaptation of some of the writings of St. Louis de Montfort. I read it continually for almost two years, from front to back, over and over. I never got tired of it.

Every day I read part of it, and every day it spoke to me. I’m sure that was an extraordinary grace. How can you read a thing like that and never get tired of it? Each time I read it, there was something deeper about it.

In the Gospel it says, You have not chosen me; I have chosen you (Jn 15:16). Looking back on my life, I see that Our Lady did choose me, and in choosing me, she saved me from all kinds of disasters.

I see the pitfalls that were in my life, and I know it was she that kept me from losing my soul through them. I know that she followed me and protected me and taught me and formed me and loved me very specially.

I’m sure she loves everyone very specially, but I know that she has been a part of my life that I can’t deny, and now I can’t live without her. She still is my guide, my mother, my everything.

Let me share with you a very special experience of Our Lady I had when I was in Russia.

Three of the bishops in Russia went with some of their clergy and laity on pilgrimage to Fatima, and they returned with a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, with which they traveled in pilgrimage across Russia. They traveled through Russia, Kazakhstan, Siberia and our part of Russia—Magadan. She was only in Magadan a few days because of the schedule.

After she had been in the parish church, Father Michael Shields, our pastor, brought her to our apartment so she could bless it. She was on her way to the airport.

For me, it was really a visitation of Our Lady. She was so present and she blessed us all and in my own heart I received a deep consolation and blessing from her that broke through anything in me coming between us.

The years have gone by and as I grow older—I am now over 77—she is teaching me how to be a child before God—a child who knows she has a Father who loves her and who is watching over her with infinite and tender mercy.

As a good Mother, Our Lady has been my guide and teacher all through my life, and now I can never be parted from her, not even for an instant.


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